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Screening – “Day of the Crows” + Brothers Quay selected works

2016/07/10 (Sun) @ 16:00 - 20:00

| ¥30
Every Sunday, from July 10 to September 4, Meridian Space will be screening remarkable animation films from all over the world.

For this summer screening series, we have cherry-picked some splendid samples of the genre, spanning a half-century, including both classics as well as many unusual or lesser-known works by such masters as the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, Bill Plympton, Hayao Miyazaki or David Lynch.

ragerpieAnd to make things even better, we are partnering up with the amazing people from Rager Pie. Each of these double screenings will feature special “surprise pies,” sweet and savory, created for the occasion. Every Sunday this summer, come discover their delicious contributions, while feasting your eyes on some of the most amazing animation films ever made.

NB: Our screenings are mostly geared towards adult viewers, as all films will be shown in their original language with subtitles. However, every session will start with a “kid-friendly” (but not “kids-only”!) film, followed by a Borderline screening (focusing on more mature works) in the second half of the event.



July 10 Program

15:30-16:00 Doors open
16:00-17:40 FIRST SCREENING: “Day of the Crows”
17:40-18:30 Intermission
18:30-21:00 SECOND SCREENING: Brothers Quay selected works – 1979-2003

About the films

• Day of the Crows

(Le jour des corneilles)
Jean-Christophe Dessaint
2012, France-Belgium-Luxemburg-Canada, 96’
Language: French
Subtitles: English + Chinese

jourdescorneilles06Boy lives in the heart of the forest, raised by his father Courge, a tyrannical giant who reigns triumphant and prevents his son from exploring beyond limited boundaries. Ignorant about the ways of men, the boy grows up wild, with the placid ghosts who haunt the forest his only company. That is until the day that he is forced to go to the nearest village, where he mets young Manon. At her side, he discovers that love exists. From then on, he won’t cease to search for the place where his father’s love for him is hiding. Gorgeously drawn and animated by one of France’s rising stars of the field.

• Brothers Quay: Selected Works 1979-2003

Language: English
Subtitles: Chinese

brothersquayThe twin Brothers Quay are Stephen and Timothy Quay. They were born near Philadelphia in a town with a large European immigrant population, which fuelled their interest in European culture. They studied at the Royal College of Art in London. Funded largely by the BFI and by Channel 4, the Quay Brothers have produced a unique body of work and have established the puppet film as a serious adult art form. These works, usually non-narrative, filter a huge range of literary, musical, cinematic and philosophical influences through their own utterly distinctive sensibility. Many of them draw on a variety of Austrian, Polish and Czechoslovakian sources.

We will screen the following works:

The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer (1984 – 13’40”)
This is a tribute to the Czech animation master Jan Švankmajer, who is one of the chief sources of inspiration for the Quay Bros. In this film Švankmajer’s head is an opened book. He teaches an unnamed child about illusions and perspectives. The program was made up of extracts from Švankmajer’s work interspersed with analysis from critics, art historians and Surrealists, linked by nine animated sequences by Quay Brothers.

This Unnameable Little Broom (1985 – 10’45”)
A reduction of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the earliest surviving work of literature. The Gilgamesh figure is a sort of grotesque fascist despot on a tricycle, ruthless patrolling his sandbox kingdom. The film was produced with some fabulous design and rapid, mechanical camera movements.

Street of Crocodiles (1986 – 20’35”)
Adapted from a short story by Polish writer Bruno Schulz, Street Of Crocodiles takes the mixture of organic material and mechanical objects further. A man spits into the eyepiece of an old kinetoscope and sets the musty machine in motion, plunging the viewer into a netherworld among the dirt and grime. Screws twist out of objects and move about. Bizarre machines perform pointlessly repetitive and unproductive tasks and a small urchin brings supposedly inanimate objects to life by casting reflected light upon them.

Stille Nacht 1 – Dramolet (1988 – 1’45”)
Making use of magnets and iron filings, the Quays create an eerie frosting on a Christmas scene.

Anamorphosis (1991 – 13’45”)
This documentary is about an artistic technique, anamorphosis, which often used in the 16th and 17th centuries. It relies on a deliberately deformed image that can be made to reappear in its true shape when viewed in an unusual way. Quay Brothers provide several examples.

Stille Nacht II – Are We Still Married? (1992 – 3’19”)
When indie label 4AD were putting out the most interesting music, Quay Brothers agreed to create a music video for the band His Name Is Alive. It was initially inspired by a photo of a girl standing in front of a door holding a paddle. She repeatedly stretches her legs to stand on tip toe in a rhythmic motion, watched by a little rabbit. A mournful voice sings, “Are we still married?”

Still Nacht III – Tales From Vienna Woods (1992 – 4’10”)
A gun is fired and a bullet flies through the surrounding forest. A deer is shot. As the camera circles slowly around to the front, we see that the table has been decorated with the same antlers.

Still Nacht IV – Can’t Go On Without You (1993 – 3’47”)
Another video for His Name is Alive revisits the imagery and characters of Are We Still Married?, and set in the same world as the previous promo. A new character, black-clad male figure wearing a demonic mask, seems locked in a power struggle with the rabbit who is trying to prevent him from obtaining a precious egg.

Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (1987 – 13’56”)
The starting point was a piece of music that Leszek Jankowski had written for a Kafka-themed project. It is also loosely inspired by an etching by Fragonard. Oscillating hands each hold a pen. Lines become jumbles that become balls. A forlorn woman lies in bed. Some brutal destruction is remorselessly rehearsed outside the door.

The Comb (1990 – 19’23”)
Based on a fragment of text by the Austrian writer Robert Walser. It opens in the shadowy bedroom of a black & white sequence. A beauty restlessly sleeps in her bed. The surreal room with saturated colours seems to be controlled by the girl. The soundtrack alternates between multilingual gibberish and Leszek Jankowski’s guitar-based score.

In Absentia (2000 – 19’20”)
Sourced from an electronic piece originally composed for the opera Freitag in 1991, it’s a collaboration with the celebrated avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. In a room penetrated by shifting light, a white-dressed woman writes a letter obsessively to her long-absent husband. The pencils, the sharpener, the paper, clenching hands, blackened fingernails convey her mindscape.

The Phantom Museum (2003 – 11’17”)
Subtitled “Random forays into the vaults of Sir Henry Wellcome (1853–1936)’s Medical Collection”, it was created as a video installation for a British Museum exhibition. With no abstraction or surrealism the film is presented in a mixture of live-action and stop-motion animation. Many of the exhibits are explicitly sexualised.


Time: Sunday July 10, 4pm
Venue: Meridian Space
Cover: 30 RMB (1 drink OR 1 pie) / 60 RMB (drink + pie)

Meridian Borderline:
A laboratory for contemporary art, music and film

Borderline is an ongoing series of events hosted or curated by Meridian 时差, dedicated to avant-garde and/or experimental sound, performance arts, visual arts, and indie cinema. Borderline events are occasions to explore new creative territories.

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C&C Park, 77 Meishuguan Houjie, Dongcheng, Beijing | 北京市东城区美术馆后街77号77文创园
(0) 10-81056788 | info [at] meridian-online.com
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